Health and Happiness  

8 tips to quit vaping

The latest research has shown that e-cigarettes in Canada contain harmful substances, one of which is a suspected carcinogen. Once hailed as the safe alternative to smoking, the new evidence is alarming. 

Recent reports of serious lung damage due to vaping has prompted more research into the use of e-cigarettes. As they’ve only been on the market for a short while, there is no current research into the long-term effects, and the evidence that has been found is concerning. 

Two chemicals in particular, pulegone and benzaldehyde, have been found to be dangerous to human health. Pulegone is typically found in menthol flavours, whilst benzaldehyde is found in cherry flavours. 

While some chemicals have been found safe to eat, the effect of inhaling them is unknown. Lung damage due to the inhalation of these particles is a serious concern, especially as the effects may not be known for several years. 

Shockingly, the majority of e-cigarette users are new to smoking, rather than existing smokers using it as a way of quitting. The wide range of flavours make it appealing to those put off by acrid cigarette smoke. 

Worryingly, the sweet fruit flavours are also appealing to young people. A whopping one-quarter of high schoolers in Canada vape, and youth smoking rates have increased by 45% in the last year. 

We need to help young people to realize the dangers, and quit, before their health is put at serious risk. If you or someone you know uses regular or e-cigarettes, I’ve compiled my top tips to help kick the habit:

  1. Understand why. Write out the reasons that you want to quit, whether it’s for your health, bank balance or relationships with others.
  2. Set the date. Get yourself ready, remove all smoking or vaping paraphernalia from your house, work and car.
  3. Tell your friends and family. They should be happy for you and support you in your decision, and can be really helpful to remind you in moments of weakness.
  4. Expect some challenges. Learn what your triggers are and try and avoid these where possible. Prepare yourself for cravings or withdrawal symptoms, and plan for how you’ll deal with these. Think about how you’ll handle temptations if you can’t avoid others smoking/ vaping. 
  5. Get professional support. Your doctor or local pharmacy can offer support and resources, such as nicotine replacement therapy. 
  6. Get moving. Exercise has been proven to cut cravings, so get out to take your mind off it! 
  7. Keep busy. Keep your mind busy so you don’t focus on the cravings, and keep your hands and mouth busy by chewing gum or using paper straws to occupy your hand and mouth. 
  8. Think positive. It is possible to give up, and with each day that you resist, it’ll get easier. Remember what you’re doing it for, and how far you’ve come already. If you do have a slip-up, don’t berate yourself! Any progress is still progress. 

For more information, visit your local pharmacy and ask about the BC Smoking Cessation Program. 


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About the Author

Dr. Hannah Gibson graduated from medical school in the UK before moving to live in Canada. During her five years at university, she's worked in every department from pediatrics to geriatrics, advocating for both physical and mental health. Now based in Kelowna, she works to provide outreach healthcare for the homeless community. 

Hannah is passionate about preventative medicine, and the focus of her column is to educate and inspire people to take proactive measures to improve their health. 

Hannah believes that we all can, and should, take responsibility for our own health. It is the most important asset we have, and should be respected as such. Follow each week as she gives you the tools to improve your own health and wellbeing, and ultimately live a happier and healthier life. 

Get in touch through the comments section, or by emailing Hannah on [email protected].

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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